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ECO Dictionary Ecology and GREEN Living Terms
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earthman at workUp-to- Date Eco Terms and New Green Terms you need to know made easy to understand and comprehend!



Nonliving or not containing any living organisms.

abiotic factors
Abiotic, meaning not alive, are nonliving factors that affect living organisms. Chemical and geological factors, such as rocks and minerals, and physical factors

acid fallout
Molecules of acid formed from reactions high in the atmosphere involving nitrogen, sulfur oxides, and water vapor that settle out of the atmosphere without any additional water.

acid precipitation
n: Includes acid rain, acid fog, acid snow, and any other form of precipitation that is more acidic that normal (i.e., less that pH 5.6). Excess acidity is derived from certain air pollutants, namely sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. The effects can include: fish kills and eutrophication of lakes; tree kills, leading to soil erosion; and physical corrosive damage to vehicles and buildings. Many historic buildings in Europe and the NE United States are suffering damage from severe corrosion due to acid precipitation.

An organism that utilizes atmospheric oxygen (0 2 ) in its metabolic pathways. An organism that must have oxygen in order to survive is an obligate aerobe .

Living or occurring only in the presence of oxygen: aerobic bacteria. 2. Of or relating to aerobes, organisms that require and utilize oxygen. 3. Involving or improving oxygen consumption by the body: aerobic exercise.

Production of tree crops in a manner similar to agriculture. Also, production of trees along with regular crops.

air pollution
The existence in the air of substances in concentrations that are determined unacceptable. Contaminants in the air we breathe come mainly from manufacturing industries, electric power plants, automobiles, buses, and trucks.

alternative energy
Usually environmentally friendly, this is energy from uncommon sources such as
wind power or solar energy, not fossil fuels.

alternative fuels
alternative fuels

alternative fuels
similar to alternative energy. Not fossil fuels, but different transportation fuels like natural gas, methanol, bio fuels and electricity.

annual consumption
Annual consumption refers to the amount of electricity used by a consumer in one year and is typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This information is available on your electricity bill or by contacting your energy provider.

An organism capable of living in the absence of free oxygen (O2 ). 2: Obligate anaerobe: An organism that must live without oxygen, for whom oxygen (O2 ) is toxic.

1: Lacking or seriously depleted of oxygen. Opposite of aerobic. 2: Of or relating to organisms, such as certain bacteria, that can live in the absence of atmospheric oxygen (indeed, for most anaerobic bacteria, oxygen is toxic).

Layer of water-bearing permeable rock, sand, or gravel capable of providing significant amounts of water.

The air surrounding the Earth, described as a series of shells or layers of different characteristics. The atmosphere, composed mainly of nitrogen and oxygen with traces of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other gases, acts as a buffer between Earth and the sun. The layers, troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and the exosphere, vary around the globe and in response to seasonal changes.

Literally, "self eater." Organisms capable of producing their own food. See primary producers . Contrast with heterotroph .


background extinction rate
Normal rate of extinction -- as a natural part of the evolutionary process -- of various species as a result of changes in local environmental conditions and the actions of natural evolutionary forces. Extinctions not caused or contributed to by the actions of humans.

An increase in the concentration of a chemical in specific organs or tissues at a level higher than would normally be expected.

Able to be broken down into simpler substances (elements and compounds) by naturally occuring decomposers. Essentially, anything that can be ingested by an organism without causing that organism harm. 2. Nontoxic and able to be decomposed in relatively short period even on a human time scale .



The variety of biotic factors found within a specified geographic region. 2. The combined differences of living things, generally classified in four broad categories: Ecosystem Diversity: Variety of biomes and habitats occuring in the biosphere.

binomial nomenclature
The two-name system, developed by Carolus Linnaeus (the founder of modern taxonomy), used to assign scientific names to all living things. Homo sapiens, for example, is the scientific name for humans.

the wastewater generated by toilets.

A specific type of terrestrial region inhabited by well-defined types of life, especially zones of vegetation, that generally cannot live outside that specific region. Examples include types of deserts ("high desert" like the Mojave or "low desert" like the Chihuahua), grasslands (prairies, coastal dunes), and forests (lodgepole pine vs. taiga; temperate rain forest; bamboo forest, tropical rain forest, cloud forest, etc.).

bionomics See ecology .

biota The plant and animal life of a region or area.

Biotic Factors
Biotic, meaning of or related to life, are living factors. Plants, animals, fungi, protist and bacteria are all biotic or living factors.

The portion of the earth and its atmosphere in which living organisms exist or that is capable of supporting life. 2. All of earth's ecosystems combined into one inclusive unit. Also called the "ecosphere." 3. The living organisms and their environment composing the biosphere. "...all life on earth and the realms that support it, from the outermost reaches of the atmosphere to the deepest trenches of the seas." National Geographic Atlas of the World, 6th Edition.


carbon Dioxide (CO2)
A heavy, odorless, colorless gas that is made from carbon and oxygen. Carbon dioxide is also known as CO2. Plants need carbon dioxide to survive.

carbon footprint
A measure of the your impact on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide.

carbon monoxide
A colorless, odorless, and highly toxic gas commonly created during combustion.

carbon neutral
A company, person, or action either not producing any carbon emissions or, if it does, having been offset elsewhere. Carbon Rationing – Limiting the amount of carbon you introduce into the environment each year. Carbon rationing action groups (crags) help you reduce your carbon footprint.

carbon Sink
Carbon dioxide is naturally absorbed by things such as oceans, forests, and peat bogs. These are called carbon sinks.

cFL (See Compact Fluorescent Lamp.)

Several people joining in one car to go to school or work. By carpooling or taking public transportation less carbon monoxide and greenhouse gases are released into our air.

carrying capacity
n: The amount of animal or plant life (or industry) that can be supported indefinitely on available resources; the number of individuals that the resources of a habitat can support. Also called biological carrying capacity.

chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)
A family of compounds of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon, entirely of industrial origin. CFCs include refrigerants, propellants for spray cans (this usage is banned in the U.S., although some other countries permit it) and for blowing plastic-foam insulation, styrofoam packaging, and solvents for cleaning electronic circuit boards.

Climate is the daily and seasonal weather on earth. Climate records are recorded each day and year for comparison.

climate Change
A change in temperature and weather patterns due to human activity like burning fossil fuels.

commodity Electricity*
Physical electricity in the absence of the technological, environmental, social, and economic benefits associated with a specific generation source.

compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL),
Also known as a compact fluorescent light bulb is a type of fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp. Compared to incandescent lamps of the same luminous flux, CFLs use less energy and have a longer rated life.


composting, Composte
A process whereby organic wastes, including food and paper, decompose naturally, resulting in a produce rich in minerals and ideal for gardening and farming as a soil conditioner, mulch, resurfacing material, or landfill cover.

Preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources. Conventional Power* – Power that is produced from non-renewable fuels, such as coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear material.

conventional fuels
are finite resources that cannot be replenished once they are extracted and used.

conservation-tillage farming
Crop cultivation in which the soil is disturbed little (minimum-tillage farming) or not at all (no-till farming) to reduce soil erosion, lower labor costs, and save energy.

coral bleaching
The loss of color from a coral as it expels its zooxanthellae-usually a stress response.

cost-benefit analysis
Estimates and comparison of short-term and long-term costs (losses) and benefits (gains) from an economic decision. If the estimated benefits exceed the estimated costs, the decision to buy an economic good or provide a public good is considered worthwhile.


debt-for-nature swap
Agreement in which a certain amount of foreign debt is canceled in exchange for local currency investments that will improve natural resource management or protect certain areas in the debtor country from harmful development.

Removal of trees from a forested area without adequate replanting.

demographic transition
Hypothesis that countries, as they become industrialized, have declines in death rates followed by declines in birth rates.

Conversion of rangeland, rain-fed cropland to desert-like land, with a drop in agricultural productivity of 10% or more. It is usually caused by a combination of overgrazing, soil erosion, prolonged drought, and climate change.

A synthetic, organic chemical of the chlorinated hydrocarbon class. It is one of the most toxic compounds known to humans, having many harmful effects, including induction of cancer and birth defects, even in extremely minute concentrations. It has become a widespread environmental pollutant because of the use of certain herbicides that contain dioxin as a contaminant.

deciduous forest
A forest containing deciduous plants and existing where temperatures are mild and rainfall is abundant

deciduous plant
A plant that sheds all or nearly all its leaves each year

To rot or decay as a result of being broken down by microorganisms

Organisms such as bacteria and fungi that decompose dead plants and animals;

see the food chain

The stripping away of trees. Practices or processes that result in the conversion of forested lands for non-forest uses.

A land area that receives less than 10 inches (25 cm) of precipitation a year, that loses more water through evaporation than it gains from precipitation, and that has high summer temperatures



The man-made or natural formation of desert from usable land.

The temperature at which gaseous water condenses into visible water vapor, fog or clouds

the distance from one end to another through the center; as the diameter of the earth

To lessen the strength of a material by mixing it with another material, usually water

dirty fallout
Air pollutants dropped by prevailing winds

To spread to another location

the measurement from one point to another


downcycle (down-cycling) is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of lesser quality and reduced functionality.Examples

drip irrigation
The practice of spraying water directly on the base of plants so that less water is needed to help them grow

An extended period of unusually low rainfall

dry deposits
Air pollutants that quickly fall to the ground without combining with moisture


the planet where we live; see planet, and planetary facts

Special day to honor earth and "going green" usually with celebrations and awareness. See earthday

earth week
Usually around April 22. Week of Earth Awareness and activities. See PP Environmental Earth Calendar

earth 911 same as earth sos
The urgency to start taking care of our world for future generations

eco graffiti
Mud stencils that create messages made of natural plants such as moss, intended for art and social justice, not advertisement

ecological community
The interaction of living organisms with their environment

A scientist who studies organisms and their environment

The study of living things in their environment

A distinct area that combines biotic communities and the abiotic environments with which they interact

The area where two or more ecosystems merge

The height above sea level

El Niño
A warming of the surface waters of the eastern equatorial Pacific that occurs at irregular intervals of 2-7 years, usually lasting 1-2 years.

emergent layer
A forest's upper layer, produced by the tallest trees

The release of a substance (usually a gas when referring to the subject of climate change) into the atmosphere.

emissions Cap
A limit placed on companies regarding the amount of greenhouse gases it can emit.


In immediate danger of becoming extinct

energy efficiency*
Energy efficiency saves energy, saves money on utility bills, and helps protect the environment by reducing the demand for electricity.

enhanced greenhouse effect
The concept that the natural greenhouse effect has been effected by emissions of greenhouse gases.

The natural surroundings of an organism, which include everything, living and nonliving, that affects the organism

environmental impact
The result of our negative and positive actions on the environment.

An organism that has a short life cycle

A plant that grows on another plant in a relation ship of commensalism



The imaginary boundary that divides the earth in half north and south

To spend the summer in a sleeplike condition of partial or total inactivity

To change from a liquid to a gas as a result of being heated

A plant whose needles or leaves remain green throughout the year

The dying out of a species of any living thing; the complete disappearance of a species from the earth, forever

extreme weather events
Scientists are worried by the increasing frequency and intensity of hurricanes, flooding, drought, as well as the loss of drinking water sources, reduction in productive farm land and increasing geographical spread of infectious diseases such as malaria.


All the animals in a particular area

To join male sperm with a female egg

first-order consumers
Animals that eat plants

floor layer
A forest's sixth and bottom layer, made up of lichens and mosses growing in the remains of fallen trees, branches, and leaves

All the plants in a particular area

Carbon-fluorine compounds that often contain other elements such as hydrogen, chlorine, or bromine. Common fluorocarbons include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).

food chain
food chain

Matter in a gas or liquid state

food chain (see it)
A series of organisms linked together in the order in which they feed on each other

food web
All of the interlinked food chains in a community or an ecosystem

A biome whose main vegetation consists of large groups of trees that usually grow close enough together that their tops touch, shading the ground

fossil fuel
Any deposit of fossil materials, such as petroleum, natural gas, or coal, that can be burned to produce energy

Traces of the remains of prehistoric animals and plants

freecycle( freecycling)
Means give it away free

This term was coined right here on Planetpals...means give it to a friend!

This term was coined right here on Planetpals...means give it to a family member!

Fuel Cell
A technology that uses an electrochemical process to convert energy into electrical power. Often powered by natural gas, fuel cell power is cleaner than grid-connected power sources. In addition, hot water is produced as a by-product.


Items that are discarded also "waste". Garbage often refers to food disgarded and other items to "trash" or waste".

geothermal energy
Hea t energy from within the earth

The soils, sediments, and rock layers of the Earth's crust, both continental and beneath the ocean floors.

Generation — The process of making electricity. The term may also refer to energy supply.

A multi-year surplus accumulation of snowfall in excess of snowmelt on land and resulting in a very large mass of ice

worldwide learn about your world

global warming / climate change
The terms "climate change" and "global warming" are often used to mean the same thing. Global warming emphasises the rise in average temperatures. see global warming

A biome whose main vegetation is grass or grasslike plants

go green
Living a "green" lifestyle and caring for earth. recycle, recuse, reduce. learn more at earth matters

green design
A design, usually architectural, which conforms to environmentall sound principles of building, material and energy use.

green graffiti
An environmentally friendly form of outdoor advertising with a clean is green message. Basically it's created by power washing a message into a dirty surface such as a sidewalk or an outdoor concrete wall.
A kind of a reverse process.


greenhouse effect
greenhouse effect

A structure, usually made of glass or clear plastic, that provides a protected, controlled environment for raising plants indoors

greenhouse effect
The effect of certain gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere and raise the temperature of the planet. see greenhouse effect

greenhouse gases
Atmospheric gases, mostly carbon dioxide and water vapor, that trap the warmth from the sun, just as glass traps warmth in a greenhouse

green Power*
Renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass and lowimpact hydro generate green power.


Waste water that does not contain sewage or fecal contamination (such as from the shower) and can be reused for irrigation after filtration.

The network of wires and cables that transport electricity from a power plant to your home or business.

Organism living on or in a host; a parasite


The physical place, such as a desert, forest, or single tree, where a plant or animal lives and which is usually described by its physical features; also the natural home of a community.

Compounds containing either chlorine, bromine or fluorine and carbon.

hazardous materials
solid or liquid materials involving or exposing one to risk (as of loss or harm)

Half of the Earth, usually conceived as resulting from the division of the globe into two equal parts, north and south or east and west.

Animals that eat only plants; see food chain

herb layer
A forest's fifth layer, found close to the ground and containing plants such as flowers, grasses, ferns, seedling trees, and shrubs

To spend the winter in a sleeplike condition of partial or total inactivity

An organism on or in which a parasite lives and whose support of the parasite often leads to its own injury

hot desert
A desert with hot daytime temperatures for most of the year

Severe tropical storms whose winds exceed 74 mph.

Substances containing only hydrogen and carbon. Fossil fuels are made up of hydrocarbons.

liquid of earth

Hydroelectric Energy
Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric Energy
Electric energy produced by moving water. (See Hydro Power.)

Hydro Power
Electricity generated by the flow of falling water, usually controlled by dams. (See Hydroelectric Energy.)

Used as solvents and cleaners in the semiconductor industry, among others; experts say that they possess global warming potentials that are thousands of times greater than CO2.


ice core
A cylindrical section of ice removed from a glacier or an ice sheet in order to study climate patterns of the past.

To burn to ashes

The amount of solar energy that reaches the earth

A material that does not easily gain or lose energy

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environmental Programme.

jet stream
jet stream


Jet stream
Rivers of high-speed air in the atmosphere. Jet streams form along the boundaries of global air masses where there is a significant difference in atmospheric temperature.


Underwater forests of tall, brown algae that grow in cool coastal waters

A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a standard metric unit of measurement for electricity.

kyoto protocol
Sponsored by the United Nations, the Kyoto Protocol is an agreement between countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. It was established in Japan in 1997 but didn't become international law until 2004.


Land waste disposal site in which waste is generally spread in thin layers, compacted, and covered with a fresh layer of soil each day

A mixture of rainwater and other liquids that comes from garbage

Life Cycle Assessment
A methodology developed to assess a product’s full environmental costs, from raw material to final disposal.

A discharge of atmospheric electricity accompanied by a vivid flash of light. During thunderstorms, static electricity builds up within the clouds.

flowing freely like water

A combination of two organisms, fungus and green algae, that live in a relationship of mutualism

The component of the Earth's surface comprising the rock, soil, and sediments.

live earth
Concert for the earth held in majopr cities worldwide.



Molten, or melted, rock within the earth

the part of the earth between the crust and the core

marine life
Plants and animals of the ocean

A megawatthour (MWh) is equal to 1,000 kWh.

A scientist who studies the weather

Study of the atmosphere and its phenomena.

methane (CH4)
A hydrocarbon that is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential most recently estimated at 23 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Living organisms so small they can only be seen through a microscope

midnight zone
The area of the ocean beneath the twilight zone, extending from 3,000 feet (1,000 m) down to the ocean floor, where only about 1 percent of marine life can survive

To move from one place to another

Mitigation refers to activities which try to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere;

The smallest part of a substance that has all the characteristics of the substance

A biome of high ground with various types of vegetation depending on the elevation

municipal solid waste (MSW)
Residential solid waste and some non-hazardous commercial, institutional, and industrial wastes. This material is generally sent to municipal landfills for disposal.


natural gas
Underground deposits of gases consisting of 50 to 90 percent methane (CH4) and small amounts of heavier gaseous hydrocarbon compounds such as propane (C3H8) and butane (C4H10).

natural resources
things from nature; see earth matters

Animals, such as fish and whales, that move independently of water currents between the bottom and surface of the ocean

Having a pH of 7 and thus being neither acidic nor basic

The location and role or job for which a species is well suited within its community, including its habitat, what it eats, its activities, and its interaction with other living things

nitrogen oxides
(NOx)Gases consisting of one molecule of nitrogen and varying numbers of oxygen molecules. Nitrogen oxides are produced in the emissions of vehicle exhausts and from power stations.

nitrous oxide (N2O)
A powerful greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 320.

Where leaves grow from a plant stem

Not able to be consumed and/or broken down by biological organisms. Nonbiodegradable substances include plastics, aluminum, and many chemicals used in industry and agriculture.

nonrenewable resource
Resources exist in the earth that are non renewable because we are taking them away and using them at a much faster rate than they were formed. Examples are copper, aluminum, coal, and oil.

Northern Hemisphere
The area of the earth above the equator

Northern temperate zone
The region between latitudes 23.5¡N and 66.5¡N.

nuclear energy
Energy produced from changes in atomic nuclei



The heavy centers of atoms

To be nourished: the process by which living things or organisms take in and utilize food material.


The largest bodies of water on earth

Offsetting involves calculating the total amount of carbon dioxide that will be emitted from a certain activity, for example plane travel or a conference call.

Animals that eat both plants and animals

All living things, and products that are uniquely produced by living things, such as wood, leather, and sugar. 2. All chemical compounds or molecules, natural or synthetic, that contain carbon atoms as an integral part of their structure.

All living things, including people, plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi


An atmospheric gas made up of two oxygen atoms that is necessary for respiration

oxygen cycle
The recycling of oxygen-containing gases between plants and animals

A form of oxygen made up of three oxygen atoms that forms the ozone layer.

ozone cycle
The ongoing process by which ozone breaks down and re-forms in the ozone layer

ozone depletion
Damage to the ozone layer

ozone mini-hole(s)
Rapid, transient, polar-ozone depletion. These depletions, which take place over a 50-kilometer squared area, are caused by weather patterns in the upper troposphere.

ozone layer
Scattered molecules of ozone gas that collect in the upper atmosphere of the earth in a layer that shields the earth from excessive ultraviolet light


An organism that lives on or in a host organism and that gets its food from or at the expense of its host

A relationship in which one organism, a parasite, secures its nourishment by living on or inside a host organism at the expense of its host

A layer of permanently frozen soil underground. An important feature of a tundra

The unit of measure for determining whether a solution is acidic, basic, or neutral

pH scale
The scale, ranging from 0 to 14, used to measure the pH of a solution.


The process by which plants use light energy trapped by chlorophyll to change carbon dioxide and water into food

Photovoltaic Panels – Solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

Plant plankton

Small to microscopic organisms that live near the ocean's surface and are carried along by the currents. Animal plankton are called zooplankton, and plant plankton are called phytoplankton

Substances that destroy the purity of air, water, or land

A tiny, tubelike marine animal of which live coral is made, one end of which is attached to the sea bottom, to rocks, or to one another and the opposite end of which is a mouth surrounded by fingerlike, stinging tentacles

Organisms of the same species living together in a specific area; also the total count of individuals in a specific area, such as the population of a town, see the world population

post consumer waste
Waste collected after the consumer has used and disposed of it.

Water that returns to the earth as rain, hail, sleet, or snow

precycle, precycling
Conciousness about what you buy and use and choosing products based on less waste reduction. learn about precycling

An animal that hunts and kills other animals for food

prevailing winds
Winds that blow consistently from one direction

Organisms (specifically, plants) that can produce their own food, see food chain



3 "r's"
reduce, reuse, recycle

4 R's
Reduce Reuse Recycle Repair

Energy transfer in the form of electromagnetic waves or particles that release energy when absorbed by an object.

Giving off or capable of giving off radiant energy in the form of particles or rays, as in alpha, beta, and gamma rays

rain forest
An evergreen woodland of the tropics distinguished by a continuous leaf canopy and an average rainfall of about 100 inches per year. Rain forests play an important role in the global environment.

To use again; see Planetpals recycle center

Collecting and reprocessing a resource so it can be used again.see Planetpals recycle center

Using less


Planting of forests on lands that have previously contained forests but that have been converted to some other us

Able to be replaced or replenished, either by the earth's natural processes or by human action. Air, water, and forests are often considered to be example of renewable resources.

renewable energy
Known as green or environmentally-friendly energy, renewable energy comes from natural sources that won't run out. These include the wind, the sun, the waves and biofuels such as wood, manure or flaxseed oil

renewable resource
Resources exist in the earth that are non renewable because we are taking them away and using them at a much faster rate than they were formed. Examples are copper, aluminum, coal, and oil.

Not able to be consumed and/or broken down by biological organisms. Such as plastics, aluminum, and many chemicals used in industry and agriculture.

nonrenewable resource
Resources exist in the earth that are non renewable because we are taking them away and using them at a much faster rate than they were formed. Examples are copper, aluminum, coal, and oil.

To fix

An ongoing process by which plants and animals take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide

use something another time; see earth matters


The degree of salt in water. The rise in sea level due to global warming would result in increased salinity of rivers, bays and aquifers. This would affect drinking water, agriculture and wildlife.

sanitary landfill
A solid waste disposal area that protects the environment from leachate

A land which is without trees but with much grass either tall or short (such as the African savannah)

Plants, such as small trees and shrubs, that usually have many stems, unlike trees which have one main trunk

sea level
The level of the surface of the ocean

second-order consumers
Animals that eat first-order consumers

Having a climate that is dry, but not as dry as a desert

Any process, activity or mechanism which removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol or a precursor of a greenhouse gas or aerosol from the atmosphere

social group
A small population that lives and travels together and in some ways depends on each other for its well-being

soil erosion
The wearing away of the soil by wind or water

solar energy
Energy from the sun

solar radiation
Radiation emitted by the Sun.

A mixture made by dissolving a substance in a liquid, such as water

Southern Hemisphere
The area of the earth below the equator

southern temperate zone
The region between latitudes 23.5¡S and 66.5¡S

formation of photochemical ozone

A group of similar and related organisms

stern review
In 2006, economist Sir Nicholas Stern published a report - The Stern Review - on the economics of climate change.

Tiny pores on the surface of plant leaves that can open and close to take in and give out water vapor

Clouds which are produced by stable air and looks like an even blanket

Stratus clouds which produce a steady rainfall

The volume of water that moves over a designated point over a fixed period of time.

subcanopy layer
A forest's third layer, formed by the leaves and branches of shorter trees under the canopy layer

sublime climate change

sublime climate change
sublime climate change

The change in the climate caused by global warming. see sublime climate change

succulent plants
Plants that have thick, fleshy leaves or stems for storing water

Sulfur Dioxide
SO2 is a heavy, smelly gas which can be condensed into a clear liquid. It is used to make sulfuric acid, bleaching agents, preservatives and refrigerants and is a major source of air pollution.

sunlight zone
The upper 488 feet (150 m) of the ocean, where sunlight penetrates and where about 90 percent of all marine life live

An organism, such as coral or the Portuguese man-of-war, that appears to be one organism, but in fact is a number of colonial animals joined together

To keep in existence; maintain. To supply with necessities or nourishment; provide for earth also "sustainable living".

A System
Biotic and abiotic factors combine to create a system or more precisely, an ecosystem. An ecosystem is a community of living and nonliving things considered as a unit


A measure of the energy in a substance. The more heat energy in the substance, the higher the temperature.

third order consumers
Animals that eat first- and/or second-order consumers

threatened species
Wild species that is still abundant in its natural range but is likely to become endangered because of a decline in numbers.

This term was coined right here on Planetpals...means give it to a thrift store!

top consumer
An organism at the top of a food chain

trace gas
Any one of the less common gases found in the Earth's atmosphere.

The loss of water into the atmosphere through the stomata of plants

Items that are discarded also "waste".

tree line
The height on a mountain above which the climate is too cold for trees to grow

tropical rain forest
tropical rain forest

tropical rain forest
A forest that gains more water from precipitation than it loses through evaporation. Located in the tropical zone and having an average temperature between 70¡ and 85¡F (21¡ and 29¡C) and average yearly rainfall of more than 80 inches (200 cm)

tropical zone
The region between latitudes 23.5¡S and 23.5¡N

The lower atmosphere, to a height of 8-15 km above Earth, where temperature generally decreases with altitude, clouds form, precipitation occurs, and convection currents are active. See atmosphere.

tropospheric ozone (O3)
Ozone that is located in the troposphere and plays a significant role in the greenhouse gas effect and urban smog. See Ozone for more details.

A treeless biome mainly in the north polar areas that has long frigid winters and brief summers and where grasses, mosses, lichen, low shrubs, and a few flowering plants survive

twilight zone
The shadowy area of the ocean, extending from the bottom of the sunlight zone down to about 3,000 feet ( l ,000 m), where plants cannot grow and where animals are less numerous and smaller

High-energy rays of sunlight


upcycle (up-cycling) The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. Examples

urban heat island
Buildup of heat in the atmosphere above an urban area.

The solar system beyond our world; see universe


(UV) light. Ultraviolet. See ultraviolet radiation.

ultraviolet radiation
The energy range just beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum. Although ultraviolet radiation constitutes only about 5 percent of the total energy emitted from the sun, it is the major energy source for the stratosphere and mesosphere, playing a dominant role in both energy balance and chemical composition.


Plant life

Rain which fall in the sky but evaporates before it reaches the ground

A naturally occurring vent or fissure at the Earth's surface through which erupt molten, solid, and gaseous materials. Volcanic eruptions inject large quantities of dust, gas, and aerosols into the atmosphere. A major component of volcanic clouds is sulfur dioxide, a strong absorber of ultraviolet radiation.


Waste, rubbish, trash, garbage, or junk is unwanted or undesired material.

Water that has been used and contains dissolved or suspended waste materials

water cycle
The recycling of water between the earth and the atmosphere

water energy
Energy from moving water

water vapor
The most abundant greenhouse gas, it is the water present in the atmosphere in gaseous form. Water vapor is an important part of the natural greenhouse effect.

Atmospheric condition at any given time or place. learn about weather

Any plant that grows where it is not wanted

wet deposits
Air pollutants that mix with moisture in the air before falling to the ground

wild flower
A flowering plant that grows in woods, deserts, or other natural areas

wind breaks
The practice of planting trees and shrubs to protect fields from soil erosion by wind

wind energy
Energy from moving air

wind power

wind power
wind power

Energy generated from large propellers that when spun by the wind, drive turbines that power generators and create electricity.

wind turbine
A machine that captures the energy of the wind and transfers the motion to an electric generator shaft for the creation of electricity.





Animal plankton



controlled environment where we visit and learn about animals


3 "r's"
reduce, reuse, recycle learn about the "r's"

4 "r's"
reduce, reuse, recycle, repair learn about the "r's"

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If so, write to us,we will add it to this dictionary.


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"PEACE" an any language
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Say "ILU" in any language
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